Department of Classics

Always coming after: The influence and impact of Post-Augustan Latin epic

An international conference at the University of Nottingham, July 12-14 2010

In recent years there has been a massive resurgence of interest in the Latin epic poets writing in the late first century AD. Lucan’s Civil War , Valerius Flaccus’ Argonautica , Statius’ Thebaid and Achilleid and Silius Italicus’ Punica were very little read in the early twentieth century. They formed a little known corner of literary history, a chamber of horrors both literal and poetic, the definition of ‘bad poetry’. This estimation, however, has not always held sway: Claudian greatly admired Statius; Dante made him an important character in the Divine Comedy ; the Thebaid was translated into medieval Irish; the rediscovery of Silius in the fifteenth century caused great excitement among Renaissance humanists; Lucan inspired radical poets down the ages.

Even now the radical scholarly reassessment is starting to have an impact outside academia: Valerius Flaccus is gaining new-found notoriety as a heart-throb in Caroline Lawrence’s Roman mysteries . This conference aims to bring together specialists from different disciplines to explore the reception of Post-Augustan epic in different contexts, periods, media and locations. Through this, we will demonstrate the radical contingency of literary evaluation, and investigate the impact of Classical epic on different times and cultures.

Speakers will include

  • Emma Buckley (St. Andrews)
  • Suzanne Hagedorn (William and Mary College)
  • Frances Muecke (Sydney)
  • Carole Newlands (Colorado)
  • Ruth Parkes (Oxford)
  • David Quint (Yale)
  • Andrew Zissos (University of California, Irvine)

This conference is part of the Flavian Epic Network; if you would like to join the network mailing list, subscribe at


Other events include

Epic poetry and Flavian culture, panel at Celtic Conference in Classics, 28-31 July, Edinburgh. Contact:



Department of Classics

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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